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Large law firms, and many smaller ones, now engage a lawyer as legal
counsel to the firm. Usually it is a lawyer in the firm assigned to the
task, but some firms also have an outside legal consultant. These appointments
respond to the increasingly "legal" environment in which law
firms function, in such matters as conflict of interest, malpractice risks,
the obligation of candor to courts and other government agencies, duties
of disclosure in litigation and transactions, and responsibilities among
lawyers and other firm personnel. Having legal counsel is not necessarily
effective to keep a law firm out of legal trouble, however. The effectiveness
of a law firm's legal counsel depends on essentially the same
factors as determine the effectiveness of legal counsel to any client:
competence of counsel, seriousness of attention on the part of the client,
and good communication. Some arrangements for legal counsel to law
firms have been less than optimal in one or more of these respects.

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